“Spacesuits are basically a self-contained environment,” NASA’s suit architecture leader Don Barker said in a video released by the Space Agency this week. “It is a mini spacecraft that is tightly wrapped around the human body.”
In this video, NASA and its partners design next-generation spacesuits for crew missions to the Moon over the next few years, and the first astronaut’s voyage to Mars in the late 2030s or early 2040s. Here are some of the challenges you face with. ..
When it comes to lunar missions, the biggest challenge faced by spacesuit designers is to consider how to keep the suit mobile while protecting the wearer from dangerous dust.
“Dust is a big problem when your life depends on good seals and perfectly functional fabrics,” NASA said in a video.
Barker explains that moon dust is different from earth dust. “The moon regolith looks like a fine-grained material when you look at the pictures of the Apollo boots in it … but you can see it anywhere under a microscope, from the shape of broken rocks to the shape of broken glass. The range of particle sizes is so small that it can handle everything. ”And yes, those debris can damage the fabric.
NASA said that 50-year-old Apollo astronauts could only sustain their suits on a few moonwalks, but their next mission to the Moon and Mars would be weeks, months, or even years. The suit is durable enough to handle prolonged exposure to lunar dust, as it can last.
Research is ongoing, but possible solutions include adding a special protective layer or charging the suit to repel dust.
Who makes the suit?
last month, NASA signs contract Designing spacesuits for two companies, Texas-based Axiom Space and North Carolina-based Collins Aerospace.
Collins Aerospace collaborates with Oceaneering and ILC Cover, who designed spacesuits used by lunar astronauts 50 years ago and more recently for extravehicular activities outside the International Space Station (ISS). doing.
The new spacesuit will be used for future EVA outside the ISS, but more importantly, Artemis III mission It aims to place the first women and the first colored races on the moon by the end of the last decade. Subsequent astronauts who will stay for a long time at the specially constructed lunar base will also use the suit if it does not interfere with the landing.